The Universal Obsession With TikTok Challenges | Curiosity Shots

TikTok: It Was Written In The Stars

Prior to TikTok duets, viral challenges were in a galaxy eons away. On TikTok, people who duet merge others’ content with their own — it’s a blending of the individual and community. Previously, challenges like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Cinnamon Challenge consisted of users posting their challenge attempt and either tagging who inspired them or including the challenge’s title in the hashtag. While these challenges showed us that interaction via virtual means was possible, they didn’t fully meet the mark. Although connection existed on social media, they left out an important part of our social need for community.


Aside from finding a demand and providing a solution, TikTok tapped into our need for recognition, direct interaction, and community. On TikTok, when someone responds to a challenge, they can choose whether or not to duet and who to duet with. With this feature, they can share the screen with another person, whether their counterpart knows them or not. This intentional decision of who the user responds to is a key factor in TikTok’s success. Since the release of this feature, the app has experienced 100% growth or 96% year-over-year , surpassing long-standing titans like Snapchat and Twitter in monthly users.

TikTok Challenges

The majority of TikToks are lighthearted challenges; users jokingly sharing their Celebrity Look Alike or learning the Renegade choreography. Other trends are less playful. Recently, trending threads on TikTok tackle darker subjects like the ‘Abusive Parents Check’ or Psych Ward Stories. These aren’t challenges in the traditional sense, but they stimulate others to join in on the conversation. As they do so, they often try to find the humor in these situations with ~quirky~ edits or dark humor.



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